A Long Continual Argument is the comprehensive statement of an acknowledged poetic master craftsman. It includes all the poems John Newlove chose for his previous Selected Poems with substantial additions from all his major collections. All of his later poetry has been included, as well as integral, critically-acclaimed works such as the long poem “Notes From And Among the Wars”, and many of the cynically lyric poems that established his early reputation as a black romantic. From his first chapbook in 1961 to his final epigrammatic poems of the late 1990s, Newlove’s has always been a quiet poetry dealing with unquiet themes. A poetry that, in the words of Phyllis Webb, “doesn’t struggle for meaning. It emerges out of his thinking.”
John Newlove (1938-2003) was born and raised in Saskatchewan. He began publishing while working various jobs in Vancouver in the 1960s. His many honours included the 1972 Governor General’s Award for his book Lies, and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Founders’ Award. His works have been internationally published and translated.
“To call him “the voice of prairie poetry” misses the target by as broad a margin as if you called John Milton “the voice of Cromwell’s London.” …This was the voice of a man who knew what it was like to almost drown, to gasp for air, to almost drown again. His poetry delivered a blow to the head then, and it does now. …It will be seen again for what it was, and is: major in its time and place.”—Margaret Atwood (from John Newlove and His Works)